Staying Hydrated This Festival Season
How to avoid dehydration while attending concerts and festivals
Reviewed by: Sarah Hite, MSN, APRN, FNP-C
Written by: Kaylee Fang
For more than four decades, Austin has been known as the Live Music Capital of the World, with the city officially adopting the nickname in 1991. The title came to be when research found Austin had the most live music venues per capita in the USA. Whether it’s your first visit to Austin or you’ve become quite the Austinite, without proper hydration, your concert or festival experience may be cut short. Sarah Hite, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, a board-certified family nurse practitioner in UT Health Austin’s Walk-in Clinic, shares tips on how you can stay hydrated and healthy during festival season.
Approximately 55% to 78% of your body is made of water. Your bones are 31% water, your skin is 64% water, both your brain and your heart are 73% water, your kidneys are 79% water, and your lungs are 83% water.
Water helps your body:
- Act as a shock absorber for your brain, spinal cord, and (if you’re pregnant) your fetus
- Aid digestion and get rid of waste
- Balance chemicals so that your brain can create hormone and neurotransmitters
- Cushion your bones to keep them from rubbing
- Deliver oxygen throughout the body
- Lubricate your joints and tissues
- Make saliva, which is needed to eat
- Produce sweat to cool the tissues beneath your skin
- Regulate your temperature
Dehydration is the lack of a sufficient amount of water in your body, which results from losing more water than you take in. Dehydration can occur when you spend hours in the blazing heat and/or high humidity without properly hydrating.
“Many people experience dehydration because they aren’t drinking enough fluids,” explains Hite, “which can negatively impact how your body functions. At an event, such as an outdoor concert or festival, it is extremely important that you are aware of your hydration levels.
Risk Factors for Dehydration
Dehydration commonly occurs when you are in areas of high heat and humidity. With physical activity comes a higher chance of becoming dehydrated. Your hydration levels are based on what you eat and drink. Alcohol intake and consumption of sugar promotes diuresis, a condition where fluids increase the production of urine, causing you to lose fluids more quickly. While a quick boost of caffeine may be convenient to keep up your energy levels, it also increases fluid loss. Additionally, certain chronic health conditions (e.g., individuals with diabetes are more likely to experience dehydration due to high blood sugar levels causing fluid loss) and age are important factors to keep in mind when considering your hydration needs.
People at high risk for dehydration may include:
- Older adults
- Individuals with chronic health conditions
- Individuals participating in prolonged outdoor activities
“Symptoms of dehydration can range from mild to extremely serious, depending on the amount of fluid loss,” shares Hite. The lack of sufficient water in your body, specifically in your cells and blood vessels, can cause a range of symptoms. Even losing as little as 1.5% of your body’s water can impact your body not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Dehydration can lead to confusion and feelings of agitation and anxiety.
Symptoms of mild dehydration may include:
- Dry mouth
- Production of urine that is less often than normal
- Urine that is dark in color
- Urine that is strong in smell
For infants, symptoms of dehydration may include:
- Few or no tears when crying
- Less wet diapers
- Sunken soft spot on the head
The best way to stay hydrated is by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day. “If you guzzle two bottles of water, and then don’t have anything to drink for another four hours, that’s hard on the body,” explains Hite. “A steady intake of fluids is the best option.”
Healthy hydration choices include water, diluted juice, and sugar-free sports drinks, although you should moderate your intake of sports drinks. While sports drinks are filled with electrolytes, they contain a lot of sugar. Since sugar promotes diuresis, a sports drink should not be the only fluid you consume.
“Today, there are countless electrolyte solutions and rehydration solutions available,” says Hite. “I would have these readily available, especially if you are bringing any children. Children will need these even more than adults. In fact, children should not only be given water.”
Tips to Stay Hydrated
<br>Stick to a Hydration Routine
Before attending live performances, it’s important that you hydrate your body with plenty of fluids. Keeping up with hydration early can go a long way. The best way to stay on top of hydration is to set and follow a routine. Always keep an eye on your fluid levels and aim to consume a certain amount of fluid each hour. While you’ve likely heard that you should be consuming at least 8 glasses of water per day, you’ll need to consume addition fluids to keep up with any extraneous activity, including dancing and jumping. You’ll also want to consider the amount of sweat your produce from the heat and the alcohol you drink when determining the right balance of hydration.
Pack Hydration Containers
Bringing your own water bottle can save you from spending additional money at a concert or festival. Some events allow attendees to bring empty water bottles that can be refilled on-site for free, while others allow festival goers to bring any drink as long as it is not in a glass container. Check the venue website beforehand to learn more about their specific policies.
Popular venue policies:
* Policies may vary by venue.
Remember to fuel your body so that it can keep up with your dancing and singing. While it may be challenging to pass up all the greasy fried foods offered by vendors, it’s important to replenish your body with nutrients, such as water-rich fruits and vegetables. Melons, cucumbers, blueberries, and radishes provide plenty of hydration as well as antioxidants and vitamin C. Your body also converts carbohydrates to glucose, often referred to as blood sugar, which is then used as fuel. Carbohydrates, such as peas, beans, whole grains, and vegetable, can help provide an energy boost when you feel drained.
Know Your Limits
Whether you’re hanging out in the sun all day or walking around to various stages, know your limits. Knowing when your body might need a break will allow your body to rest and recharge so that you can make the most of your time. Try relaxing in the shade, sitting down to chat with your friends, or even taking a nap when needed. Staying hydrated allows you to make memories that you’ll cherish for years to come.